How Google Play Install Referrer Works

Lucas Brown
posted this on December 04, 2012 21:20

When directing a user to Google Play, the install referrer can be used for 100% tracking accuracy. Google Analytics uses the install referrer to track campaign performance as well. Learn how Google Analytics uses install referrer.

MobileAppTracking uses the install referrer as well. When MobileAppTracking redirects a user to a Google Play page, we append our 
Tracking ID in to the install referrer parameter as well.

This is an example of Google Play link where we've appended our tracking ID (tracking_id) into the referrer parameter:


Learn about advanced usage of the referrer parameter with custom landing pages.


Setting up App to Collect Install Referrer

When the user installs the Android mobile app, your app should be setup to allow our SDK to collect the install referrer value ( Please refer to the MAT Android SDK integration guide for more information.

The install referrer is the value of the "referrer" parameter that is appended on to the Google Play link. Since we append our Tracking ID in the referrer parameter, Google will allow us to collect this upon install via a receiver for the install referrer and thus attribution can be done at 100% accuracy.

Our Android SDK requires setting up a MobileAppTracker receiver in your Android manifest. Put this receiver inside your application tags.


<receiver android:name="com.mobileapptracker.Tracker" android:exported="true">
       <action android:name="" />


The SDK will send the value of the install referrer to MobileAppTracking servers. We'll parse out the tracking_id parameter and use the value to attribute the install.


Install Referrer passed in Server Postback

If you would like to send the value of the install referrer as a macro in a server postback, then you can include {conversion_referral} into the server postback URL.

Example Server Postback setup:{conversion_referral}


If the user was directed this Google Play link with the referrer set with our tracking ID and some Google Analytic parameters.


Then the server postback that would be notified would be this:


The value of conversion referral would include our tracking id as well as the Google Analytics parameters in the string.




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Paresh Mayani

Hello Lucas,

I have been trying to resolve the issue of app install tracking since a long. Tried and implemented some code to get REFERRER value and its also same as the way you mentioned above. But I am being failed to get referrer value in all my devices of 2.3, 4.0, 4.1

What I found is: "Google Play Campaign Measurement does not currently support web-to-device installs initiated from the web Play Store." from this link:

So could you please confirm whether above example is working fine? Are you able to get referrer value right now?

It would be a great help.

April 23, 2013 06:36